Clean Contact Fairway Bunker Shots

When you move back from a greenside bunker to a fairway trap, everything changes. If you are going to go for the green from a fairway bunker, you will not be playing an explosion shot. Rather, you will be trying to make clean contact with the ball, just as you would do from the fairway. Therefore, the kind of lie which is seen as a good lie is going to be reversed. In this case, the bare, hard-packed lie that was a nightmare in the greenside bunker is going to be perfect. With this kind of lie, you shouldn’t have too much trouble hitting a solid shot. This is not much different than hitting from the grass, and the ball should come out with plenty of speed as long as you make reasonable contact.

Finding firm sand conditions in a fairway bunker provides you with a couple of benefits. The first is what we mentioned in the previous paragraph – you will have a great chance to strike the ball cleanly. In addition, the firm conditions mean that the ball is likely to roll down to the bottom of the bunker, where you should have a relatively flat lie. This usually doesn’t happen when the sand is soft. It is much more likely that you’ll get caught up on one of the slopes of the bunker when the sand is soft, making your shot quite difficult. So, if you happen to be playing on a day when the sand is firm and hard-packed, getting yourself out of a fairway bunker should be relatively easy.

Of course, we need to talk about the other side of the coin as well. When you have soft, fluffy conditions, fairway bunker shots immediately get a lot harder. The ball is likely to be sitting down at least slightly in soft sand, making it nearly impossible to achieve a clean strike. If you happen to have the ball plug down deep into the soft sand, you simply won’t be able to play a shot all the way up to the green. In that case, you will have to blast the ball out, as if you were playing a greenside explosion shot. You should be able to get out in most cases, but you’ll still be a long distance from the hole.

Getting away from how the ball is sitting in the sand, the location of the ball within the bunker is a big deal on fairway bunker shots. If you are going to be able to go for the green from any significant distance, you’ll need to have the room necessary both to make a swing and to have the ball get up over the lip. This means that the ball will (usually) need to be near the middle of the bunker. If it is up near the front, you won’t have enough time to get the ball up into the air before it slams into the wall of the trap. On the other hand, if the ball stops near the back of the bunker, you might not have room to make a swing. Either way, going for the green will be out of the picture, and you’ll have to pick another option.

In the end, you need everything to line up in your favor in order to play an aggressive shot from a fairway bunker. Not only do you need to draw a good lie with the ball sitting up on top of the sand, but you also need to be in a position where you can get out without catching the lip of having your swing affected by the side of the trap. As you might expect, there are plenty of layup shots hit from fairway bunkers, if only because it is so rare that everything works out in your favor with regard to the lie of the ball.